Portland dog park closes after two dogs sickened with parasite

Portland dog park closes after two dogs sickened with parasite »Play Video
A sign is posted outside the off-leash area of Gabriel Park in Southwest Portland on Saturday. (KATU photo)

PORTLAND, Ore. – A popular Southwest Portland dog park is closed after two dogs became sick with Giardia.

The Portland Parks Bureau believes the two dogs picked up the parasite at Gabriel Park. The state veterinarian recommended closing the off-leash section of the park to prevent other dogs from getting it.

Giardia is a common parasite that affects humans, dogs and cats, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Symptoms in both humans and pets are diarrhea, gas, abdominal discomfort, nausea, and vomiting.

The section will be closed until least April 12 to give the parasites time to die off. Giardia is easily spread from animal to animal around soiled dirt and stagnant water.

“I’m glad they’re watching for it,” said Bill Cely, who was walking his dog nearby on Saturday. “It just takes one dog to contaminate the area and other dogs get into their feces.”

If you think your dog was exposed you may want to take them to a vet, even if they’re not showing symptoms. Treatment could prevent the onset of serious symptoms that could make your dog dehydrated.

The state veterinarian says it’s unlikely for humans to catch the parasite from their pets, but it's important to avoid kissing them if they have Giardia.